Think Tanks and Transition 2008: Update



The Thinker

The Thinker

I started an inventory back in April (Part I and Part II) of what different think tanks are doing related to the transition.  There was a good story in Federal Times this past week on some of the groups (including the IBM Center), but there are a few more developments over the past few months worth highlighting.


Updates on Think Tank Players


Government Performance Coalition.  The Coalition’s a website on transition issues is being updated more frequently.  The Coalition and its nearly two dozen members (some of whose efforts are described in more detail below) anticipate pulling together a set of insights for the next Administration this Fall.


IBM Center for The Business of Government.  In addition to sponsoring this blog, a series of issue briefs and forums on acquisition reform, the IBM Center will be publishing two books this Fall.  One, “The Operator’s Manual for the New Administration,” will highlight the key features of running an agency, such as what you need to know about government systems dealing with people, money, and technology.  The second book, “Getting It Done,” provides insights for new government leaders on working across different stakeholder groups – Congress, OMB, the media, unions – to get things done.  Its transition website will be regularly updated to reflect these items, as well.


Council for Excellence in Government.  CEG plans to continue its famous “Prune Book” but make it an on-line version this time, highlighting about 25 key jobs. It is also providing pre-transition assistance to the Department of Homeland Security by helping organize emergency and planning exercises under the National Response Framework.


National Academy for Public Administration.  NAPA also assisted Homeland Security by inventorying gaps in the Department’s executive staff rank in a recent report.  A group of Academy Fellows is drafting a series of papers on key management capacity challenges facing the next Administration as well, which will be available on the web later this summer.  NAPA is also collaborating with other groups, as described below.


Partnership for Public Service.  The Partnership has sponsored a series of forums on the human capital agenda for the next Administration.  It is developing a white paper based on its forums and plans to contribute data and information during the general election campaign to further dialog on these issues.  It also plans to provide insights and advice to the next generation of political appointees.


American Society for Public Administration.  The Society’s professional journal, Public Administration Review, published a series of articles related to presidential transition in its July/August issue.   


Association of Government Accountants.  AGA has launched a blog on financial management issues, some of which may be relevant during the upcoming transition.  It is also developing a white paper on financial management challenges, jointly with NAPA.


Center for the Study of the Presidency.   The Center is sponsoring several efforts related to the transition.  One, which is more strategy-oriented, is “Agenda 2008:  A Nation at Risk,” which defines organizational challenges facing the next President.  The more specific effort is its sponsorship of the Project on National Security Reform, which is devoted to rethinking the National Security Act of 1947 which created the Defense Department.



“The President’s Executive Academy.” This new initiative is being developed by a consortium of groups:  the University of Maryland, the Council for Excellence in Government, the University of Pennsylvania, and NAPA.  Under the guidance of Ed DeSeve, a former OMB official, the consortium is developing a curriculum for new presidential appointees, with plans to help support the orientation of new appointees.  It is also planning the development of a web-based orientation and network.


Updates on Government Players


Office of Personnel Management.  OPM has published an updated transition guide for political appointees.    


Office of Government Ethics.  OGE will have an important role in the transition.  It is responsible for reviewing and certifying financial disclosure reports of presidential nominees.  It reviews each nominee’s written ethics agreements and transmits opinion/clearance letters to the appropriate Senate committees responsible for confirming appointees.  It also provides ethics briefings to senior White House officials. 


Congressional Research Service.  CRS produces reports on various topics for members of Congress.  It has produced an updated report on Presidential Transitions.  It will also likely produce a series of other reports on transition-related issues, such as national and homeland security.  


Updates on Academic Players


The White House Transition Project  is conducting a series of interviews of 11 key White House officials about the lessons they learned in their roles and advice they have for their successors.  They are planning on a book later this year with essays on selected transition topics such as:  the first 100 days in the White House (which should be useful to CNN, which has announced a series it plans on the first 100 days); the presidential decision-making system, and the president’s military and foreign policy roles. 


Midge Smith Center for Evaluation Effectiveness (a part of the Trachtenberg School for Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University).  The Center is collaborating with a NAPA advisory group to develop a white paper identifying options for strengthening performance management initiatives in the next Administration.  The effort is based on a series of focus groups with OMB and agency officials and will be ready in the Fall.


Updates on Other Players


Deloitte Public Sector Research.  Deloitte Research sponsored a conference in June on the potential role of Web 2.0 in the next Administration.  It also plans a forum in September to develop a “redesign framework” to facilitate the review of the roles and functions of government.   


Cisco.  Cisco has undertaken several transition initiatives to help the next Administration develop a management agenda. Most recently, it launched a website to engage visitors in identifying new ideas for government that could be offered to the new Administration.  In addition, Cisco’s Alan Balutis supported a special forum on management issues in the Spring 2008 issue of The Public Manager. 


Management Concepts, Inc.  Management Concepts is publishing a series entitled In the Public Interest.  The first book was out in May 2008:  Transforming Public and Nonprofit Organizations: Stewardship for Leading Change by James Edwin Kee and Kathryn E. Newcomer, both with George Washington University.  In addition, Management Concepts is sponsoring (and working on) improvements to program management with CEG, based on a survey of program managers.


OMB Watch. OMB Watch plans to prepare a briefing paper on the regulatory process and options for improving it to be more transparent.


MITRE Corporation.  MITRE is developing a set of white papers on 5-8 topics, based in part on a series of roundtables held in conjunction with CEG in late 2007.


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Again, if you’ve got additions or revisions, the blog lines are open!



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One Response to “Think Tanks and Transition 2008: Update”

  1. Recent Links Tagged With "thinktanks" - JabberTags Says:

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